Reviews by Dai Alanye

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo

by J.H. Patterson

Wow! I'll never look upon lions the same way again.

For a reader with empathy this can be a frightening story, since both the hunters and the railroad workers are continually in peril from these persistent beasts. Best read by daylight. When I head for southern Africa I'll want to be armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle and be wearing body armor.

After spending an excessive time polishing off the lions the author builds his railroad and takes trophies by the score.

Reviewed on 2015.01.13

Island Nights' Entertainments

by Robert Louis Stevenson

I doubt whether Stevenson ever wrote badly, though some of his stories fail the test of involving one's feelings. Prince Otto, Will O the Mill and Catriona, for example, rarely set the reader's emotions boiling.

These tales of Polynesia, though not conventionally thrilling, are well worth the reading—especially A South Sea Bridal.

Reviewed on 2014.12.31

Into the Jaws of Death

by Jack O'Brien

I cannot tell whether this story is fact, propaganda, or some combination thereof. The narrator's attitude seems far too jolly, and his treatment as a WW I German POW is more cruel than any other I've come across.

Interesting sketches of trench warfare on the lowest level.

Reviewed on 2014.12.31

Into the Primitive

by Robert Ames Bennet

Sort of a takeoff on quite similar but better stories by Jack London, among others—the man and maiden stranded on a desert isle. Or in this case, on an isolated bit of African beach, and two men to a single maiden.

The girl is wealthy and refined, there's a refined Englishman, and a crude, beastly American who happens to be the only one with the knowledge and brute strength to keep all alive. Think Grace Kelly, David Niven and Ernest Borgnine.

As with all these turn of the twentieth century tales no crudities are allowed, and the delicate female must be protected from anything frightening or coarse, while lust is merely hinted at.

This story breaks a few of those rules but it's still a load of codswallop in my view. Natural history is greatly distorted, as well, with lions and leopards offering little more danger than tabby cats, with "fever" lurking in bad air, bad water and over-exertion.

Thorough suspension of disbelief is recommended.

Reviewed on 2014.12.30

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